I will consult my physics buddy to help explain in scientific terms this not-uncommonly observed way that light through pine needles displays as radians along concentric circles of light. Â On the other hand, Â understanding the chemistry of the paint doesn’t add to our appreciation of a masterful work of art.
I see this display often, Â but a photographÂ that captures this phenomenon is rare in my archives, other than memory.
Rarer still–a once in a lifetime experience for me, and the window is closing–is the view of radians, that quite by accident, I observed this week in thin air. Thin, except for literally hundreds of waving webs of floating, or “ballooning” spiders.
I’ve written about the “gossamer spiders” before, observing a dozen or two within a few minutes during very dry, clear windows fall days over the decades. That spectacle alone makes goose bumps.
But on this occasion that I struggleÂ unsuccessfullyÂ to adequately describe so that the hair on your arms bristle, too, there were so many distant overlapping and shining strands that, for just a few seconds, I saw this circle-of-light pattern in a tapestry of organic fiber-optic floating life-lines.
Each filament loftedÂ a hopeful tiny spider, borne on a waft of wind that had just brushed gently across the north ridge. With this signal, an entire neighborhood of spidersÂ let go at once, and I happened to see them as the passed overhead, backlit by a brilliant sun.
I had chanced to look up as I began climbing the ladder to clean gutters.
One never knows when they might be overcome by the ineffable. Does one?